Green Lantern (vol.3) #155 (2002)

Green Lantern (vol.3) #155 (December, 2002)
“Hate Crime, Part Two”
Script – Judd Winick
Pencils – Dale Eaglesham
Inks – Rodney Ramos
Colors – Moose Baumann
Letters – Kurt Hathaway
Editorial Assistance – Morgan Dontanville
Editor – Bob Schreck
Cover Price: $2.25

Today we’re going to wrap up the two-part “Hate Crime” story.

I gotta admit, I was a bit nervous discussing this one… I wasn’t exactly sure how it would be received.  Haven’t heard any complaints yet… which, I’m going to assume means nobody read it… or, that folks were so dazzled by my insight they were left speechless.  Yeah, probably that second one.

This arc will be added to our “Collected Editions” Page for ease of chronological-enjoyment.

We open with a news report on the beating of Terry Berg… even my man President Lex gets to opine!  Vigils will be held, and legislation will be brought up to speed.  Back at the hospital, we meet Terry’s folks… and boy howdy is his father a cliche.  He refuses to allow David in to see Terry, and goes off on a blaming-spree.  He finally collapses in tears, at which point Jade escorts David into Terry’s room.

Just then, John Stewart shows up with some coffees.  Jennie is confused when she learns that Kyle put John “on the list”.  Not because of any hard-feelings toward John or anything, she’s just not sure what Kyle has in mind.  Kyle initially claims to have called John to keep her company because he needs to step away for a minute.

Kyle “steps away” alright, all the way to the Moon!  Next we see him, he’s inside the JLA Watchtower pleading with Wally West to use the Cosmic Treadmill so he can “undo” Terry’s beating.  Flash says “no go”.

Kyle keeps pushing the subject… it’s just “one day”, what harm would there be in changing just one event on one day?!  Well, if this ain’t Batman’s cue, I don’t know what it is… so, enter Batman.  Batman backs Wally’s decision up, while giving Kyle a taste of the “I know what you did last night.”  Crestfallen, Kyle leaves.

Next we know, he’s in deep space working out his aggression on the Asteroid Belt.  This is where he encounters his predecessor… Hal Jordan.  Hal let’s Kyle express his frustration… even counsels him a bit.

Kyle suggests that had he not relinquished the power of Ion (that’s a story for another day) he’d be able to undo Terry’s beating.  He kicks himself for “giving it all away”, even though in so doing, he was able to bring back the Guardians of the Univer– okay, maybe it wasn’t the best idea.

Hal tells Kyle he must do whatever brings him inner peace.  He wishes him luck… and reveals that, even at this moment, luck is on his side… there’s good news waiting for him back at the hospital.

Indeed, back at the hospital Kyle gets the news that Terry has woken up!  What’s more, he’d asked to see him ASAP.  Kyle heads into the room, where he has a “chat” with an intubated Terry.

Things start off pretty lighthearted, though the conversation does turn dark.  Terry wants to know what happened to him… how did he come to be here.  Also, he wants to know why no one will tell him what happened to him.

We jump ahead to Kyle and Jennie on the roof… I’m assuming it’s of the apartment building and not the hospital… not that it matters.  It’s here that Jennie makes a pretty crazy discovery.  While going through Terry’s sketchbook… it becomes pretty clear that Terry Berg has known about Kyle’s double-life for a while.

It’s also here that Kyle… quits.  He cannot protect the Earth anymore as Green Lantern.  It’s just too much for him right now.  He suggests he leaves Earth for awhile… and he invites Jennie along with him.  So then, who will be Green Lantern?  Well… 

Well, I guess this one sorta had to come back around and be a superhero story, didn’t it?  It’s not bad… just the change in tone is a little bit jarring.

Having Kyle at his wit’s end was a good call.  Though, he seemed to get stuck on that one step of the Kubler-Ross scale… bargaining.  He pleaded with his teammates for the opportunity to change the past.  I mean, time-travel in comics is always a hinky proposition… and I feel it’s one that should be used sparingly and for “world saving” situations only.  Had they allowed Kyle to “undo” Terry’s beating… I feel that would have been a giant disservice to those who had been affected by similar situations in the real world.

I said this back when we discussed Nightwing #93… the issue where he is sexually assaulted by Tarantula, and I’ll say it again here… Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  In comics, and the real world.  To use “comics logic” to undo things that happen in our everyday lives… just not a good idea, in my opinion.

Kyle’s chat with Hal was good… for a few reasons.  First, due to the mainstream attention this garnered, I gotta figure that this arc were the first Green Lantern comics for a decent sliver of the readership.  The chat allowed for some expository “catch up” material to be dropped, without feeling like a blatant info dump.

In keeping with the “mainstream” for a moment.  This issue ends with John Stewart taking the role of Green Lantern.  This was right around the time of the Justice League Animated Series, in which John Stewart was Green Lantern.  Really smart move, that serves both the narrative and potential marketing strategies.

Back to the chat.  Hal really doesn’t tell Kyle anything he doesn’t already know… he just frames it all in a way for Kyle to gain a little perspective.  With the powers of Ion, Kyle could’ve done anything (including resurrect a certain young lady whose last mailing address was a refrigerator… which he didn’t), so relinquishing those powers was a) the only feasible solution, and b) a character-defining moment.  Having him regret this decision is only natural… and I’m not entirely sure Hal was able to convince him otherwise here.  Still, I like seeing Hal as a “mentor” to Kyle.

Terry’s father… I mean, I get it.  I wish Winick took the road less traveled here though.  I don’t see the harm in having Mr. Berg be a supportive father, instead of a mustached, mullet-headed, dirty t-shirt wearing jerk.  I guess, given the situation, it’s possible that even the most supportive of parents might lash out… but, there’s just very little subtlety in this fella.  I tell ya what though, I’d hate to see how this character would be portrayed in 2018.

Terry wakes up, which is good news… and he seems to be the same ol’ goofy snarky kid, which is also good news.  I really like the idea that people aren’t telling him how or why he’s in the shape he’s in.  I’d imagine that would be one of the more difficult conversations to have (and write).  I dig the idea that those around him are still trying to process the sheer horror of the events… and aren’t yet ready (or able) to relay them to the actual victim.  This is a big deal… and really shouldn’t be handled lightly.

Overall… like I said yesterday, you’re not gonna enjoy reading “Hate Crime”… because you’re not supposed to.  That said, it is important… and character-defining/refining for much of the cast of Green Lantern.  Even though I’ve just spoiled the entire thing for you, I’d still suggest giving it a look.  This issue is available digitally.

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